Azure Expands Interoperability for the IIoT
Michael Alba posted on April 28, 2016 |
Azure is now compatible with OPC UA standard linking to many manufacturing equipment.
Microsoft’s adoption of the OPC UA standard for its Azure IoT platform will help usher in Industry 4.0.

Microsoft’s adoption of the OPC UA standard for its Azure IoT platform will help usher in Industry 4.0.

Microsoft’s IoT platform, Azure recently announced its adoption of the OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) standard for industrial machine interoperability. This is a move that will enrich the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities of Azure.


OPC UA Communication Protocol for Industry is a Link to IIoT

The OPC UA communication protocol allows for standardized communication, security, metadata and semantics abstraction for industrialized equipment. Furthermore, it acts as a gateway to cloud-enabled industrial equipment. Such equipment would allow for remote device management and data insights, as well as the ability to integrate machine learning into equipment that was not explicitly designed with this capability.

Microsoft Azure’s support for the OPC UA open-source software stack and its integration with Azure IoT will allow for OPC UA devices to be controlled remotely from the Azure cloud. Telemetry data from these devices can also be easily sent to the cloud. Additionally, Windows 10 devices will be able to connect to other IoT devices using OPC UA.

How OPC UA can affect the IIoT and Industry 4.0

The next step in the modernization and enhancement of today’s factories lies in the interoperability between devices and assets. This Industrial Internet of Things is being called the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.

This revolution will see direct links between hardware, software and services across industrial automation devices. In the near future, manufacturers will undergo a transformation that will allow for the discovery of new solutions and optimizations.

Microsoft’s adoption of OPC UA brings this future a little bit nearer. Sam George, director of Azure IoT, believes it will open the doors to wider IIoT acceptance: “Microsoft’s support of OPC UA in Azure IoT and Windows IoT will reduce barriers to industrial IoT adoption and help deliver immediate value.”

Vice president of the OPC foundation behind the standard, Stefan Hoppe, also sees it as a landmark move: “With the adoption by Microsoft to its Windows 10 operating system and Azure cloud, the OPC UA standard passes the critical milestone of general acceptance by the broader IT world.”

To find out more about Microsoft’s IoT platform Azure see this comparison of IoT platforms.

Recommended For You